USTR Refuses To Show Up For Senate Hearing On Fast Track

from the how's-that-for-working-closely-with-congress dept

One of the biggest concerns that we've heard from Congress about the USTR's desire for fast track authority is the fact that the USTR has been positively dismissive of Congressional attempts at transparency. While the USTR pretends that getting fast track actually means great cooperation with Congress, apparently USTR boss Michael Froman decided to bend over and tell Congress to kiss his ass by not even bothering to show up for the Senate's hearing on fast track authority.

Several committee members said they were puzzled and disappointed that USTR Michael Froman passed on an opportunity to convince some skeptical lawmakers they need to establish Fast Track authority for President Barack Obama’s priority Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.

“I wish they were here,” said Portman, a member of the committee and a former US trade representative under President George W. Bush.  “It’s important.”

This shows the kind of disdain that the USTR appears to hold Congress in. Congress remains a mere nuisance in the USTR's ongoing efforts to put forth the best agreement possible for a bunch of crony friends who will soon be offering USTR staffers new jobs as lobbyists.

If the USTR can't even bother to show up to argue for fast track, while arguing how important it is, perhaps it suggests that Congress really ought not to give the USTR that kind of power. So far, the USTR has not been transparent. It has directly lied, repeatedly, to the American public about what it's trying to do, and when given the chance to explain itself to the Senate committee in charge of the very bill it wants to give it more power over the TPP and TTIP/TAFTA, it blows it off.
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: congress, fast track authority, international trade, michael froman, oversight, senate, tpp, trade promotion authority


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • icon
    silverscarcat (profile), 17 Jan 2014 @ 1:53pm

    If I was in the Senate...

    I would see if I could fire the entire USTR.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2014 @ 2:08pm

    The passage of that bill has already been bought and paid for. The USTR knows this and shows great arrogance in not showing up before Congress.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    wallow-T, 17 Jan 2014 @ 2:14pm

    Nice that they're making the workings of our government more transparent to us, by making it clear that the goal here is to neuter Congress from having any role as the voice of the people. :-)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2014 @ 3:42pm

    US Hates Congress

    have you forgotten that ??

    Most of America fully understand that Congress is presently filled with a bunch of idiots who wont do anything unless it is to 'get back' at the president, and block everything they can for partisan reasons..

    I can understand why no one would want to talk to them, this congress is lucky to be able to pass wind.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2014 @ 3:47pm

    The USTR works for the same Corps that Congress does this wasn't a hearing it was a PR meeting and unimportant to their masters.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2014 @ 5:32pm

    it basically stuck it's fingers up, i dont know about 'blows it off'! this is disgusting behaviour from what is supposed to be a professional body and it goes to show not just what it thinks of Congress but also how much power it has over Congress and how much power Congress actually has.
    the real kicker though must be that as USTR chose not to show, it must mean there is a lot more to hide than it is obviously trying to make out. surely Congress has enough clout still to make it toe the line? to do as it's supposed to? if not, what's the point of Congress? we've already seen just how little power it seems to have over the Security Forces and the courts

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 17 Jan 2014 @ 5:49pm

    Time for turnabout perhaps?

    Well if the USTR isn't interested enough in FTA for their pet treaty to actually show up to the hearing about it, it seems only fair that the senators don't bother showing up when it comes time to vote on the thing, because they have 'more important matters to work on', like crossword puzzles, getting some extra sleep, stuff like that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Clownius, 17 Jan 2014 @ 8:45pm

    Shows whos really in charge

    Its not been congress or the president for some time. Its just that now the real powers dont even bother pretending what Congress or the President say or do has any bearing on them.

    Sad really. Shows just how far the corporations have gone in controlling the world and the USA in particular. No need to pretend anymore.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 17 Jan 2014 @ 9:47pm

      Re: Shows whos really in charge

      Well, maybe. This is the USTR showing that they don't consider congress or the senate important enough to actually bother with, which really seems to be pushing their luck, considering how much they really want FTA re-instated.

      What will be the really telling point is if the two houses still approve FTA, and then TPP after it, as that will make it loud and clear that despite any objections, or insults to their 'authority', both congresscritters and senators are still willing to dance to the corporate tune.

      Hopefully(though I'm not terribly banking on it), this little snub will be the proverbial last straw, and make the fence sitters in both houses declare, and then vote as such, that FTA is off the table, and that if TPP hits the houses, it will be gone over publicly, despite what it's pushers want.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2014 @ 1:30am

    Actions speak louder than words. The USTR has just spoken loudly with their actions, or lack of actions, to be more accurate.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2014 @ 3:10pm

    You know what would make me laugh!? /s, is if they still put fast track up for the vote after this

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rekrul, 20 Jan 2014 @ 1:16pm

    "Puzzled and disappointed"? I'm puzzled and disappointed that Congress isn't angry over their failure to show up.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Advertisment

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Discord

The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...

Loading...
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.